2019 Summertime Blues

View across the Brisbane lagoon with sun setting behind San Bruno Mountain

Bad news is starting to pile up around the housing and apartment markets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Let’s be real… markets go up and down. This may, however, be a reflection of weakness in the employment market of late. You can find recent employment data here. And recent home price data is here.

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Making a Comeback

The year 2019 started off a little rocky on the employment trail. The month of May saw a significant comeback in job growth, but the year ahead remains cloudy. See recent Employment Data here.

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Cloudy with a chance of change?

After a strong year-end burst of job growth, January 2019 started with a big, loud boom. Not a good boom… a drop of 77,900 in Bay Area employment. February 2019 saw some recovery, but the picture is a bit muddy. (See 2019 stats here)

Total current (Feb-2019) Bay Area employment of 4,118,100 is 56,200 below the recent peak figure of 4,174,300. The labor force is 43,600 below the recent peak figure of 4,284,700. Job growth over the past three months was -54,400 versus 7,100 for the same period last year.

This is the worst year-end/year-beginning performance in a long time. The tech companies keep leasing space in San Francisco and on the Peninsula. Maybe we will see employment turn up sometime soon.

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Is It Really That Calm Around the Bay?

Was at a large meeting today with appraisers from all over. Consensus about 2019? There is none. Lots of speculation about the direction of the real estate market in the coming months. We will have to wait and see.

Saturday was a glorious day for paddleboarders on the SF Bay… calm. It will be interesting to see if the real estate market follows that lead. See some demographic facts about Bay Area Counties here.

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Another New Year

Welcome to 2019! Statistical data always takes a while to go from real world to data gathers to data analysts like me. Some November 2018 data is available for housing prices and employment plus full year residential mortgage rates.

It will be very interesting to see what the new year brings. Our past friend – 2018 – was a tale of two halves. Strong first half but it looks like we ran out of gas at year end. The bright spot, employment, broke out of its funk to end on a high note. Will it continue? Will people finally get tired of high Bay Area prices and just say no?


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I’ve added a few new graphs showing home listing/sale and price trends for San Mateo County. Let’s be clear that affordability is an issue here. It’s not a debate. To purchase the average sale price home ($1,777,341 in June 2018), you would need over $500,000 in ready cash and an annual income of around $270,000 just to cover principal, interest, taxes and insurance at a relatively aggressive PITI to income level. Add in a couple of car payments and you can’t afford that average home. New listings seem to be on the upswing… maybe supply will finally catch up with demand.

If the Bay Area employment picture stabilizes or drops a bit, we could see home prices respond to higher interest rates by taking a dip in the coming year.

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Hardly a Tsunami

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we get tsunamis all the time… fog tsunamis… With all the news about the economy doing so well you’d expect a wave of new employment, but not so fast. June 2018 employment stats are here. Spring and early summer usually see some job growth, but not this year (or last). Total current Bay Area employment of 4,035,500 is 25,500 below the recent peak figure of 4,061,000. The Bay Area labor force is 23,500 below the recent peak figure of 4,186,400. Job growth over the past three months was -16,700 versus -12,300 for the same period last year. The labor force ticked up a bit compared with May. We will have to wait until next month to see if that translates to job growth.

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